Joseph Rhodes – a blameless life?

(This is the second in a series of posts about my patrilineal Rhodes ancestors. The first post can be found here )

It is a feature of genealogical research that the better behaved one’s ancestors were, the fainter the footprint they leave in the historical record.

This aphorism certainly applies to my 5th great-grandfather, Joseph Rhodes. To the inevitable disappointment of readers of this blog, there is no evidence to suggest that he had any affairs, fathered any illegitimate children or committed any crimes; he and his wife, Sarah, remained together till death them did part after 44 years of marriage.

Joseph was the youngest of Miles and Jane Rhodes’s eight children (although Mary had died as a toddler before Joseph was born and John passed away when Joseph was just four months old). His actual birthday isn’t recorded but he was baptised in Baildon on 27th December 1752.

He married Sarah Newby at St John’s Church, Baildon, on 10 August 1773. They had three children: Anne (born 1775), Miles (my 4th great-grandfather, born 1778) and Dinah (1784). Sarah died in September 1817, at the age of 64. Joseph survived her by 18 months and was buried in the St John’s Church graveyard on 15 March 1817. He was 67 years old.

Joseph is, however, notable for being the first of the patrilineal Rhodes ancestors for whom we have some details of property ownership. His name appears in several land tax records for Baildon in the late 18th and early 19th centuries and, in 1786, he is recorded as having a tenancy in two closes of land at Broachfield and Latherbanks (later known as Ladderbanks). The former, “containing four days’ work“, was close to the church; the other was a steep tract of cultivated land on the line of Ladderbanks Lane towards Hawksworth. In his later life, he was recorded as being a landowner rather than a tenant, but I’ve not yet been able to establish which plot(s) of land he owned.

Joseph’s farmland may have led to the family’s interest in butchery, a trade in which each of the next four generations of Rhodes men would work, starting with Miles whose history will be covered in my next Rhodes family post.

Map of Baildon dated 1842 (source: National Library of Scotland). Broachfield was situated close to the church and Latherbanks along the line of Ladderbanks Lane heading north-west out of the village.

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